News / USA

Tensions Flare During White House Debt Talks

US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011
US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011

President Barack Obama and eight Republican and Democratic congressional leaders hold a fifth round of negotiations on Thursday at the White House aimed at achieving a deficit reduction and debt compromise. Talks on Wednesday ended with a tense confrontation between Obama and a key Republican lawmaker.

What happened?

Though the White House did not comment, and accounts by Democratic and Republican aides and a key Republican lawmaker differ, all indicate that the nearly two hour meeting was the most contentious to date, as all sides face increasing pressure to find a solution to the debt impasse.

As Republican aides told it, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor himself was quoted as saying to reporters, Obama abruptly walked out at the end of the meeting following a tense exchange over how to resolve the deficit and debt impasse.

Democratic congressional sources disputed that, saying Obama spoke in frustration about political posturing and lack of compromise, but simply ended the meeting.

Whatever did occur underscores the high stakes in the negotiations to come up with a compromise that can avert a federal government debt default on August 2. The tense exchanges also came as a major financial rating firm, Moody’s, warned that the the U.S. credit rating was on watch for possible downgrade.

McConnell proposal

Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney addressed a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for a procedurally-complex legislative tactic that would have essentially transferred authority, and political responsibility, for raising the debt ceiling from Congress to the president.

McConnell proposed passing legislation to allow Obama to raise the debt limit in three stages by $2.5 trillion, through the 2012 presidential election year, but requiring the president to list spending cuts at least as high as increases in the debt ceiling.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (File Photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (File Photo)

Carney called the proposal an acknowledgment by Republicans that there is no alternative to raising the debt limit. He did not reject it outright but said Obama remained focused on achieving the largest possible deficit reduction deal.

"The linkage that was created that tied significant deficit reduction to this deadline, was so that we could work together, roll up our sleeves and do this," said Carney. " Well the president is ready and willing to do that, he is willing to make compromises, he is willing to go big here."

McConnell spoke on the Senate floor before he and other lawmakers went to the White House for their fourth round of talks with Obama.

"Americans don't want tax hikes, they don't want phony spending cuts, they don't want a debt disapproval plan, and they don't want us to default on our debts," he said. "They want real cuts, and real reform, now."

In a CBS News television interview Tuesday, the president responded to McConnell's statement that a solution to the nation's deficit spending problems was unobtainable with Obama in the White House.

"You know, Mr. McConnell said, I think the day I was elected, that his job was to try to see me beat.  I think what the American people are looking for is not that kind of partisan politics," Obama said.

Worst case scenario

In this photo provided by CBS News, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the debt crisis on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Washington, July 10, 2011
In this photo provided by CBS News, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the debt crisis on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Washington, July 10, 2011

White House negotiations have included Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has warned of the dire consequences of a debt default on August 2. Geithner will meet with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden before a fifth round of talks with lawmakers on Thursday.

In testimony to a congressional committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a default would have wide-ranging impacts.

"Clearly if we went so far as to default on the debt it would be a major crisis," Bernanke said.

White House spokesman Carney was asked on Wednesday if Obama would rule out a very short stop gap measure, if negotiators were on the edge of a larger compromise  Carney responded that  the president believes there is momentum toward achieving a significant balanced deficit reduction package.

As he presses his case for a large deficit solution coupled with a debt ceiling agreement, Obama will give interviews on Thursday to major media market television stations, just two hours before Republican and Democratic lawmakers return for what could be a crucial round of talks.




You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid